2022 is coming to a close and we can confidently say that it’s been a year of achievements but also challenges. With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time to reflect on this past year and what changes we have seen in the industry.
Loosening restrictions in many countries meant more face-to-face encounters. We saw trade shows such as IMEX Frankfurt, IMEX America, and IBTM at full capacity once again. A drastic increase in demand and RFPs in comparison to the past several years. The industry was booming in 2022.
Nonetheless, the thriving business for many came with challenges as well as unforeseen trends and tendencies.
Reduced RFP Lead Times
With looming uncertainty in Q1 and Q2 we saw an increase in last minute requests and shorter than normal lead times for most programmes. The average lead time in 2019 was 6.2 days, whereas the average lead time in 2022 was 3.6 days. This obviously has had a major impact when combined with the influx of the number of RFPs.
Rise of Small-Scale Events
Ongoing restrictions during the first several months of 2022 meant companies were globally weary of organizing large scale events. In fact, in 2022 we saw the majority of incentives were for groups of less than 100 people. Despite this recent trend we expect to see larger groups in the coming year.
Importance of Sustainability
The topic of sustainability became a focal point for the travel and events industry in the past year. Destinations focused on sustainable tourism and programmes that actively promoted local culture and preserved natural surroundings. Even though this wasn’t hugely reflected in the RFPs received, planners are seeking out ways to make events more sustainable; from eco-friendly venues to waste-free catering. We even saw trade shows vocal points to reduce their carbon footprint overall.
Rising concern for environmental and social challenges indicates that sustainability will continue to be a focus for the industry in 2023.
High Demand Vs Staff Shortages
The lingering effects of the last two years became apparent in 2022 regarding the workforce. DMCs, in general, were faced with a drastic increase in incoming requests but with reduced teams. This led to delays in responses from DMCs. The current sellers’ market obliges the supplier network to make priorities and smaller events are being turned down.
Demand is still up, and the number of RFPs is still high. In the short and mid-term, the influx is expected to stay high, but we are noticing numbers plateauing. The demand will decrease, and the staffing will further increase. We will see the sellers versus buyers’ market balancing back again. Of course, the biggest variable is still the trends of the current economy, but as we have very little to influence that, we will gladly take it day by day.
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